Basic Tips For The SEO Beginner

on Monday 19 June 2017
SEO is a complex topic that sounds simple, so let’s clarify what it means before we get into the meat of the issue. SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization refers to how search engines determine which links are shown first to users.

This determination centers around certain factors in the case of the results stemming from an organic search (non-paid). That’s not all. The benefits and profitability of SEO are even increasing with respect to mobile platforms. SEO refers to the set of factors that determine the search ranking of your landing page and other links in relation to many factors.

Framing the issue is important before getting into the question of why SEO is so important in the first place. Most people intuitively understand that the higher their site’s landing page shows at the top of a search engine’s results page, the more traffic they will receive. In reality, the influence that search engines have over the results you see and the frequency at which search engines are used may surprise you.

The fact of the matter is that search engines generally dictate what gets shown and what doesn’t get shown. Nowadays, search engines appear to have taken on a referencing role based on website relevance in addition to a simple search function. Interestingly, search sites like Google act as both gateways and gatekeepers to the rest of the Internet.

Google controls seven out of every ten searches. Because of this, Google is a gateway that most people use to find other sites that they need. On the other hand, Google is also a gatekeeper based on how it organizes and ranks the links of various websites.

This article will go over five ranking factors used by Google to shed insight into the details of that ranking process. In other words, by reviewing the features of the gatekeeping process, we can implement more robust and effective SEO measures.

1. Provide Useful Content

The more accurate, helpful, and reputable your content is, the better SEO results you’ll get. Simple, right? In theory, good content leads to higher rankings. The problem here is that machines are sorting through and making judgments on what’s good or bad. So you’re really trying to hit a number of things that mimic or approximate good content in your SEO quest. Making small, impactful, and targeted changes is key to creating the type of content attractive to search engines.

2. Write Suitable and Attractive Anchor Text

What’s anchor text? It’s basically the blue underlined stuff that you click on when you browse the Internet that takes you to another related site. Essentially, the HTML code specifies a section of text and associates it with a link to create the hyperlink that we are all familiar with.

So how do you add a bit of flair to your anchor text beyond its depressingly default color of blue? Moz gives a number of suggestions, but in general you just want to want your anchor texts to be pithy, unique, simple, and relevant to the linked page.

3. Backlinks

Backlines are exactly what they sound like, but like all important SEO features on your site there are both good and excellent ways to use backlinks. The concept behind a backlink is incredibly simple. It refers to the sites that link to your site, or any other site. Let’s say the Wall Street Journal made a link to your website. That’s a backlink.

There’s a number of key things to do when considering backlink quality. These tips relate to making your backlinks more useful to site visitors. You can accomplish this by evaluating a site’s link relevancy through a number of factors like content and online tools. Focusing on real websites, or websites that experience a lot of traffic along with using authority sites will also boost your rankings.

4. Make Your Site Easier to Navigate

This one’s pretty easy to grasp too. Just don’t fill your site up with a much of unnecessary clutter. Clean simplicity is one of the reasons that Google was so successful as a search engine in its earlier stages. You want your site to get to the point. You want to capture your users and have them understand the purpose of your site within seconds. Finally, you’ll need to arrange buttons and widgets around a theme or style that appeals to the visitors for maximum ranking results.

Even Google itself thinks organization and navigation clarity are important in its SEO guide. It emphasizes things like the relationship between clean navigation and search engines and makes suggestions like planning your site around your homepage in order to make visitor browsing more convenient.

5.Consider RankBrain’s Algorithms

The significance of technology appears to have subtly increased to a great degree over the years. Google’s RankBrain is an example of an algorithm has been making waves on the issue of search traffic and rankings.

So how does Google do it? The larger category of technology is called artificial intelligence, coding computer to perform tasks that only humans normally handle. But with the arrival of a type of artificial learning called machine learning, RankBrain has certain elements that are capable of rewriting their own software to get better at ranking the most relevant sites.

The real impact of RankBrain manifests in its ability to interpret human meaning (in searches) to an extent: “RankBrain is designed to better understand the meaning behind the words a person uses and types into his or her search engine because 15 percent of queries per day had never been seen by Google” (Broadbent, 2017).

With the powerful machine learning technologies guiding SEO and the calculations behind the rankings of site relevance, focusing and studying up on the latest SEO trends across popular platforms has never been more important.

Author : AJ Agrawal , Contributor (Forbes).This article was  first published on .

The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors by SEL

on Tuesday 13 June 2017

What the SEO table covers

There are two major classes of factors:
  • On-the-page SEO: These are factors largely within the control of publishers.
  • Off-the-page SEO: These are factors influenced by others or not directly tied to a publisher’s site.
Within these two classes are seven categories of factors, which are:
  • Content — Factors relating to the content and quality of your material
  • Architecture — Factors about your overall site functionality
  • HTML — Factors specific to web pages
  • Trust — Factors related to how trustworthy and authoritative a site seems to be
  • Links —  Factors related to how links impact rankings
  • Personal — Factors about how personalization influences rankings
  • Social — Factors on how social sharing impacts rankings
Overall, there are 35 individual factors, which range from making use of descriptive HTML title tags to whether a site has success with visitor engagement. Here’s a close-up of the table, focusing on just the factors:

How to understand the table

Each factor has a two letter symbol. The first letter represents the category a factor is part of, such as “A” for Architecture. The second letter represents the element itself, such as “m” for Mobile, giving “Am” its symbol.
Each factor also has a weight. This is a relative guide to how important it is to focus on a particular factor versus others and overall. Those with a +3 are most important, with +2 and +1 indicating factors of lesser importance.
It’s also important to understand that the factors work together. No single factor guarantees success. But several factors working together, even if they are minor ones, can increase the odds in your favor.
Violations are negative factors, spam activities that can harm your visibility. Don’t do these! Violations, unlike the other elements, all begin with “V” regardless of what category they are in, so that they can more easily be identified as violations. Factors marked -3 are considered worse than -2 and -1.

Factors with weight increases: Mobile, speed & direct answers

Am: Mobile — Google continues to push for content to be mobile-friendly, no surprise given that more than 50 percent of Google searches are done on mobile devices. In addition, by the end of this year or in 2018, Google will use a mobile-first index, even for desktop users.
All of this made us feel the mobile factor should increase to +3, a rise over the +2 it had in 2015 and the +1 when it was first added to the table in 2013. Those surveyed agreed, giving it a 2.8 average weight.
As: Speed — Google has continued to emphasize the importance of speed as a ranking factor, including widely implementing the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) format that it backs. AMP didn’t even exist when our SEO table was last updated in 2015.
With so much attention on speed, it made sense to increase this factor’s weight from +1 to +2. Those surveyed gave it an average weight of 2.6, but we decided to be conservative with our increase.
Ca: Direct Answers — Both Google and Bing are increasingly showing direct answers that are culled from web pages above regular listings, something Google calls featured snippets.
Some publishers worry these are harmful, because if an actual answer is shown, why would people bother clicking to the source page? However, many others compete to be an answer, finding they do indeed drive traffic. Google’s featured snippets also serve as the single spoken answer that’s often given by the Google Assistant on mobile devices or in Google Home.
This factor was added in 2015 with a conservative +1 weight. Given the increasing prominence of direct answers, it made sense to raise the weight to +2. That also matches up with survey respondents, who gave it a 2.1 average weight.

Factors with weight decreases: Site and personal search history

Th: History — Google seems to have downplayed, in public statements or a lack of them, the importance of a site’s age or history versus years past. Given this, we felt dropping this factor from +2 to +1 made sense.
The factor was raised to +2 for the first time in 2015, when we agreed with the average survey response of 2.0. This year’s survey saw that drop to 1.8, giving us further reason to feel a decreased weight was in order.
Ph: History — Someone’s personal search history also felt to us like a factor that has decreased in importance. That’s why we’ve dropped it from +3 to +2. Survey respondents put it at 1.7, further reassuring us that the decrease was justified.

Factors that were dropped: Site identity and personal social sharing

Ti: Identity — We heavily debated dropping site identity as a factor when doing the 2015 edition, because Google had ended support for Google Authorship, which was the primary way identity seemed to be having an impact. However, those surveyed then gave it a 1.6 average score. Google also suggested that authorship was still being determined in other ways.
Since then, Google has backed away from authorship entirely. This year’s survey also saw it drop slightly to a 1.5 average. To us, there seemed little reason to continue listing this factor at all. We decided to drop it.
Ps: Social — Google+ was the primary way Google was using personal social sharing to influence someone’s search results. Google+ might continue in name, but its impact on Google’s search results seems all but gone — along with the users and brands that were active on the service. Because of this, we decided this factor deserved to be dropped. Survey respondents gave it an average weight of 1.6.

Factors considered but not added: App indexing and AMP

We wondered if we should add new elements for app indexing and AMP pages. People were asked to rate these on the survey. The average for app indexing was 1.7; for AMP, it was 1.8. We ultimately felt those were better considered as part of the existing mobile factor (Am) and decided not to add them as new elements.

Not changed but notable

As shown above, we don’t always go with what our survey suggests for a factor’s weight. Ultimately, we try to be a bit more cautious than what the survey suggests, plus we take into account things we’ve seen the search engines say or do.

Here are some notable diversions from the survey, where factors did not have their existing weights changed.

Au: URLs — The survey had keywords in URLs at 2.1, but we felt keeping it at +1 was fair.

Ah: HTTPS — The survey had the impact of running a secure site at 2.0, but we felt it was
appropriate with its existing lower weight of +1. However, this could change in the future — and there are good reasons beyond SEO to make a site secure.

Ah: Titles — The survey gave keywords in title tags a 2.3 average weight. We kept it at +3, viewing it as an easy and still important area of focus.

Ah: Headers — The survey gave the use of header tags (H1, H2, etc) a 2.2 average weight. We felt that was too much and kept it at +1.

Ta: Authority — The survey gave the idea that a site or page has authority that helps with ranking a 2.4 weight. Google has certainly downplayed the idea of site or domain authority, as we covered recently. But it has given even further emphasis to the idea of page authority. We felt keeping this factor at +3 made sense.

Ln: Number of links — Those surveyed gave an average weight of 1.9 to the idea that sheer number of links is an important ranking factor. We remain conservative on this, keeping it at +1.

Pc: Country — Survey respondents gave a 2.1 average weight to the importance of someone’s country on the impact of the search results they receive. It’s easily demonstrated that country location has one of the most important influences on search results. Just ask anyone in a country different from the one you’re in to do the same search. They’ll usually have widely different results. We kept this at the highest +3 weight.

Pl: Locality — The survey gave a 2.3 average weight to the importance of someone’s city or locality on the impact of search results. As with country, we know — and anyone can easily test — that a city or regional location can have a huge impact. We kept this factor at +3 weight.

Ss: Social shares — The survey gave a 1.6 average weight to the idea that the sheer number of social shares can have an impact on search rankings. Social is generally an indirect benefit, in terms of Google. It has repeatedly said that it doesn’t try to measure social signals from Twitter or Facebook to rank results. But social sharing might lead people to link to and engage with sites, which are direct factors. Overall, we felt remaining conservative here with a +1 score made sense.

Vd: Piracy — The survey put the impact of having pirated or copyright-infringing content at -2.6. Sites with pirated content can indeed be hit hard by Google, but most sites don’t do this and so don’t need to worry about it. Hence, our lower weight of -1.

Va: Heavy ads — The survey put the impact of having sites heavy with ads or intrusive interstitials at -2.4. We agree that Google certainly seems to be looking harder (and penalizing) for this. Still, we decided to remain conservative and keep it at -1. However, there’s an excellent chance this could change in the future.

Vp: Paid links — The survey average for buying links was -2.1. We think that underestimates the negative impact on a site that’s caught doing this. We kept this at -3.

Factors not mentioned & the importance of quality

Above, we’ve only covered factors that had changes from the last edition or where we deviated from how survey respondents felt. There are many more factors than these, however — so please do review them all.

More than anything else, Cq: Content Quality, remains the bedrock of success. It’s the first factor on the chart and heavily weighted for a reason. If you have great content, all things good SEO-wise flow from that. Survey respondents agree, giving it a 2.8 average.

Original Published By Danny Sullivan on June 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm on

SEO Tips to Optimize Your Mobile Marketing

on Wednesday 7 June 2017

Websites without a mobile version or with a poorly optimized mobile website will slip even further in search engine results pages (SERPs) as the rollout encompasses more sites. The good news is that some mobile SEO tasks are very easy to do yourself.

If your content performs inconsistently across mediums, you’re missing an audience engagement opportunity. Mobile SEO, much like traditional SEO, is about creating and tagging content in a way that makes it stand out online. Use this list of DIY mobile SEO tips to protect your brand from search engine penalties and maintain online visibility:

1. Create a Google My Business listing.

One of the most important listings businesses owners can create, Google My Business accounts are free and simple to set up. Fill out the information to the best of your ability, and include as many images of your business as possible. When people enter a search for your business online or via a Google app, they will likely see this information first. Make it count.

2. Frequently review all directory listings.

Beyond the Google My Business account, mobile users may use other websites and applications to find your brand. Frequently review and update all listings for your business online. Update listings on Yelp, local websites, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau and other popular business directories. These listings will ensure searchers reach the right information when they search for your name.

3. Get social.

On mobile devices, social media sites drive a significant amount of traffic. Around 80% of social media users spend their social media time on mobile devices. If you want to maintain visibility with mobile users, prioritize your social media marketing strategy. Use platform-specific advertising, engage with users, and/or post prolifically to ensure your brand stands out.

4. Take advantage of plugins.

If your business uses WordPress or another platform, take advantage of the plugins designed to make your mobile site more user friendly. WordPress offers plugins to improve site speed, optimize images, and take care of other important mobile SEO tasks. WPtouch is a somewhat ubiquitous WordPress plugin that will create a Google-approved mobile-friendly version of your website. If you’re not currently using a professional to update and optimize your website, look into how plugins can help you maintain visibility online.

5. Use keywords for content visibility.

Mobile users search differently than desktop users. Optimize for mobile keyword searches to keep your content in front of the right people. While you can purchase tools to find the right keywords for your content, you can find keyword comparisons by device in Google’s Search Analytics.

6. Optimize images.

To improve page loading times on mobile devices, optimize images for mobile users. If you don’t use a plugin to help with images, identify the ones that present a problem using a page speed tool and then compress or change the dimensions for faster loading times.

7. Prepare your content for mobile.

In addition to searching differently on a mobile device, many people digest content differently. Readable and scan-friendly content tends to work better on mobile devices, but testing is the only way to know for sure. Consider using a basic A/B test format to determine which types of mobile content perform better.

8. Optimize for local searches.

You may not want to dive into detailed code optimizations that can boost search rankings, but you may want to consider a few basic activities. To optimize for local searches, include both the city and state in title tags, the URL, the H1 heading, and Meta description.
Mobile SEO will soon trump desktop SEO. Consider working with a professional or attempting a DIY head start today to ensure your site maintains visibility in mobile and desktop searches. A few simple tweaks can boost your digital presence and bring local customers to your door.

Author:John Boitnott

The 7 Most Common Negative SEO Attacks

Here’s what you need to know to spot the 7 most common attacks, fix them and protect yourself in the future.

1. Auto-complete SEO attack
The principle is simple, but this negative SEO attack is very difficult to defeat. Practitioners simply search your brand name numerous times with words like ’scam’ included in the search. Do this enough times, and users who type in your brand name will get an auto-suggestion including the negative term. This might seem petty – and it is – but it can have a big impact on your brand perception.

You can spot this attack by keeping a close eye on your search queries. If unusual terms start to appear, you’ve probably been a victim of this negative SEO technique. You can’t do much to stop this happening, but a smart content marketing strategy can help you rank positive content for those negative terms.

2. Link removal attack

Backlinks constitute an important SEO ranking factor, so it’s little surprise to see these targeted by SEO saboteurs. This technique sees attackers emailing the webmasters behind your best links and requesting that they’re taken down – usually masquerading as you. The sheer number of legitimate link removal emails means that these imposters can escape without proper scrutiny and you lose your best links in the process.
Diagnose this attack using link-monitoring tools such as Majestic or Monitor Backlinks. If a link is unexpectedly taken down, you can investigate immediately and resolve the problem before your rank is badly affected.

3. Hack attack

Unlike some of these other attacks, SEO hackers aren’t normally looking to damage your ranking. Rather, they’re jockeying off your authority to build their own. Aside from being unfair, the unfortunate by-product of this attack is often penalisation for your site. This technique is when a hacker-attacker hacks into your site and buries spammy links in your content to build their own backlink profile. They might even create a series of new pages that drive traffic back to their own site.
This attack is noticeable if you start to recognise strange anchors for keywords you’ve never tried to rank for. If you suspect you have been hacked, you should investigate promptly to discover how the hackers got in so you can shut them out the next time they try. You can help prevent hacking before it happens by installing plug-in updates as soon as they’re available and using double authentication for your back-end users.

4. 404 Error attack

If Google detects that many  of your pages are getting a 404 error message, they’ll generally drop your site like a hotcake, before you can deliver a terrible user experience. Unfortunately, negative SEO practitioners know this and can manipulate that knowledge to attack their competitors. They simply create thousands of links back to pages on your site that don’t exist, so when Google tries to follow those links, a 404 error is generated:few things can adversely affect your ranking so quickly.
You can spot this attack by closely monitoring your ‘Crawl Errors’ through Google Webmaster. If you see a sudden leap, that’s a good sign that you’re being targeted.

Luckily, you’ll generally find that a pattern emerges so you can easily spot which URLs are involved in the attack. Then you can request that your site delivers a 410 ‘Gone Forever’ message instead, to cut down the number of 404 messages being issued.

5. Redirect attack

As you may or may not know, redirects allow link equity to be passed to a new domain. Negative SEO attackers use this knowledge to redirect negative link equity to your domain, so you’re penalised for their bad links. In its most basic form, this is simply pointing a penalised domain link back to your site so you get the penalty. In its more complex form, a committed negative SEO attacker might copy your entire website, add canonical tags and then bury spam links in the content. The spam links will be penalised and the canonical tags ensure that penalty is transferred to your original site.
You can spot this attack in several ways. Firstly, keep a close eye on your link-monitoring tool. Majestic reports redirected links in the same way as normal links, for instance, so you can quickly spot any issues and disavow. You can also search Google for copied versions of your content and check manually whether the canonical tag has been used.

6. Spam links attack   

This is one of the most common negative SEO attacks, as it’s one of the easiest to implement. An attacker simply creates an unnaturally large number of links pointing to your site, which triggers Google’s Penguin tripwire. Google assumes that you’re engaging in black-hat SEO yourself by creating unnatural links in order to improve your rating and it penalises you accordingly.
This attack is all about volume, so it should be pretty obvious if you’re a victim. If your intelligence platform tells you that you’ve suddenly received an unusually high number of links, often on the same day, it’s probably SEO attackers at work.

Often all links will point to the same page on your site – to allow the attackers to quickly create links. They’ll often come from very similar sources, with a similar authority ranking. If you’re using Majestic, you get a Trust Flow report telling you how trustworthy the linking site is. Often this ranking will be very similar.
You might also notice that links are using the same anchor text, making Google think that you’re playing the system. In the Google universe, over-optimising your focus keywords is a punishable offence and negative SEO attackers use that to their advantage.
To combat the link spamming attack, add those links you’ve identified to your disavow list, so their link equity doesn’t count towards your ranking. You might also register a spam report with Google which  identifies which domains are involved in the link spamming.

7. Fake parameter attack

This is an insidiously effective attack that targets your URLs. Basically, an attacker creates multiple links that point back to legitimate URLs on your site, but using fake parameters. (
These links then create duplicates of your legitimate pages, which can flag a Panda penalty. The keywords used can also indicate that your site isn’t relevant, which is one of the fastest ways to incur Google’s wrath. Say you run a property firm, for example, then a URL littered with keywords like ‘viagra’, ‘gambling’, or ‘discounted storage solutions’ is a pretty sure sign of irrelevance.
These URLs will often achieve a 200 OK response, so they are treated as normal, genuine pages. As such, this can be particularly difficult to spot and you’ll find it more productive to stop this attack before it happens. The best way to do that is to use the canonical tag, to identify which pages should be ranked. This makes sure that no other pages using that URL can rank and cuts the SEO attacker off in their tracks. You could also configure your server to recognise and ‘noindex’ any unknown parameters.

Retrospect is a wonderful thing though, so if you’ve already been a victim of this attack then you can manually exclude those fake parameters through Google Webmaster.

This article was published on in march 2017.